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REACTION: Everybody got something out of it

Mark Birch with Cumberland Cup reaction

7 December 2022

It was job done against a very good Bransty side, who came with a game plan and stuck to it on Tuesday night, with goals from Tobi Sho-Silva (3), Mason Hardy (2) and Jamie Devitt enough to take the Blues into round three of the Fred Conway Cumberland Cup.

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“It was a good result for the lads,” youth boss Mark Birch said. “We got out of it what we needed. The score is what it was, but we got plenty of game time for players and we got a lot out of it. 

“Everybody’s here for different reasons. The first team lads need to get pitch time, to get a good feel for the football, and the youth team lads try to impress. I think everybody did themselves justice with the way they went about it.”

On a Bransty side who kept the hosts at bay until well into the first half, he commented: “They came here and did the job properly.

“They had a game plan, which was probably to keep the game respectable, and they did. They went about it the right way, they didn’t try getting cocky or doing stupid things, and I think it was worthwhile for everybody.

“The first team players played their part, some of them scored goals, and that’s what you want to do – to put yourselves in the manager’s thoughts. 

“With Mason Hardy scoring and Matty Bell and Aran Fitzpatrick getting assists, that’s also what they want. You want the manager, Gav and the staff knowing their names and talking about them.


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“Still being in the competition is a good thing for the young lads. For the older lads it’s all about game time, but the youth team players, they want to do well. It’s a chance to play in proper stadiums, under floodlights, and they enjoy it. It’s a good competition for them.”

The pressure had started to build when the first goal of the evening eventually came, a close range finish from a whipped cross that took the Rangers back line by surprise.

“The attitude shown by everyone was fantastic, to be honest,” he told us. “I think all of them quite enjoyed the game.

“They’ve had a lot of the football, chances to knock the ball about, and they were quite creative in the final third.

“When you play these games what you want is an early goal and how quickly can you get that early goal.

“Bransty worked hard to stop it, they kept to the game plan and were throwing themselves in front of things. Full credit to them, they went about it the right way. 

“From our point of view everybody is on that pitch for different reasons. For some it’s game time and minutes in the legs, some are trying to impress the manager, and the young lads want to be there to get in the manager and first-team staff’s eyeline.

“I think the young lads came out with a lot of credit.”

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